Saturday, November 28, 2015

Tank sensor cleansing

Am in Yuma, AZ, for couple more weeks.  I stopped by a store today that had a mixture of things, and also a fairly large RV section.  Had specifically went in there to get a piece for my new Reverse Osmosis water purifier.  I had avoided this store as it didn't look overly appealing for me, but was pleasantly surprised.

In the store they have a whole bunch of chemicals to clean, deoderize, and all sorts of other things tank related.  Thought about getting one to clean my sensors, the ones that measure how full the tank is, but put it back on the shelf and continued browsing.

Afterwards, one of the people who worked there, a slightly older gent, came up and asked if needed anything.  I pointed to my brass compression garden hose fitting and said was looking for a plastic version, which they didn't have.  He then informed me I would also need a little plastic insert to slide into the 1/4" plastic pipe, so got that little part.  This plastic insert allowed the metal crimp piece to put pressure on the plastic hose without crushing the plastic hose.

On a whim, asked him what is recommended to clean the tank sensors, and to my surprise, he said that chemicals on the shelves were pretty much useless.  Sure, they might do the job, but might not.  He then preceded to regale me with wisdom of an old seer, of an aged RV repair guy who used the following two things:

Liquid Dishwasher detergent / soap

Use about 1 cup per full tank.  It MUST be liquid, no if's, and's, or butts...  Brand doesn't matter so I went to get some eco-"friendly" version at Walmart.  It was explained to me that the dishwasher detergent has a powerful degreaser, along with good detergents, that will clean the sensors by dissolving / removing any gunk on them.  Normal hand dishwashing soap WILL NOT work.

Calgon Fabric Softener

Use about 1 cup per full tank.  This MUST be Calgon, it was conferred to me that it can't be anything else as they don't seem to work.  What was passed on to me, and now you, is that this coats the sensor, after it's cleaned, preventing gunk from building up again.


As eluded to above, it should be done in this order:
  1. Add 1 cup liquid dishwasher soap after emptying tank(s) and closing valve(s).  I would add some extra water to tank (some people say 20%) to help keep a clean tank
  2. Test sensor as tank fills up
  3. Fill tank full, or above the "full" sensor
  4. I would let tank sit above full as long as feel comfortable
  5. Empty / drain tank(s) in normal manner
  6. Test sensor(s)
  7. Repeat 1-6 until sensor(s) function normally.  For me, when tank is empty, none of the lights light up.  When it's full all lights light up.  Yours may vary
  8. Repeat step 1-6 one more time (as safety measure)
  9. After second time of fully working sensor(s), start using calgon after empty tank(s)
  10. Add 1 cup of calgon fabric softener after tank is emptied (and valve is closed), and add some water to help it out
  11. I was given no further instruction / wisdom.  If sensor problem reappears, add more liquid detergent as necessary, then use calgon after problem cleared

My experience

Learned about this today so don't know anything other than adding my liquid dishwasher detergent to my black tank.  Am due to empty black tank in couple days, maybe a week, so then will add to grey tank too.  Just emptied grey tank recently.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

New Kitten

At least for a temporary time...  Complete album of all pictures I have for her.  Not many.

The morning after bringing her in
Couple nights ago at the RV park, a friend and I were walking back from card games at night.  We suddenly heard what sounded like a cat with a big set of lungs.  Turns out it was a kitten screaming for attention.  If it was any other animal I still would've been there.

Another lady in the park helped the kitten out too, but couldn't take her in because of their dogs, so left kitten outside with food, water, and a nice place to stay.  Most anyone who knows cats / kittens knows they don't stay willingly in one place, even if it's decked out in the freshest towels.  Once they have an agenda everything else goes by the wayside.

I've heard Dr. Naidu, the "father" of Lactoferrin, speak several times before, and he tells the story of a young lost dog that was hit by several cars on an LA freeway.  The dog was severely hurt, yet he took the dog in and got him healthy, bones healed, and all that jazz.

A major take away I got from the several times I've heard him speak about the dog, is that if something happens, and we're aware of it, we must step up and take responsibility.  Like in his case, he didn't hit the dog, nor knew the dog at all, yet he saw it and had to make things right.

A brief video featuring some of Dr. Naidu's accomplishments.  He doesn't speak about the dog, just an overview of what I know about him.  He's had several more large accomplishments, such as working with Indian Special Forces very early on in his career.

So, it is with this background and knowledge, that I stepped up to the plate to take this kitten in.  The kitten appears healthy, though I would've still helped if she wasn't.  Scatter, one of my current cats, is keeping his distance, and generally quiet.  I don't think he's very pleased about this but he's not acting up.  Paisley, on the other hand, continually voices her displeasure.

This Friday the kitten will be going to local humane society.  She'll very likely get adopted quick.  If she's not adopted before I leave will adopt her back myself.  Another reason want to bring her in is to get her fixed and to make sure she has nothing bad, plus maybe she's a lost kitten who ran away from home?!  Not quite sure.

I do get the distinct feeling she was a house kitten to begin with, then someone brought her out here to the boonies and dumped her, left her alone to fend for herself.  I also get the feeling, not sure how accurate, that she was also part of a litter of kittens, and was one left and isn't too "kitten like" anymore.

Look at them thar eyes

Either way, she's in my care and I will do my best to make sure she ends up in the best home possible.  When I bring her to the humane society will also leave a gift so that she'll be adopted faster.

Best wishes to everyone for the best Thanksgiving ever!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Bypass roof fan control

In the bathroom there's an exhaust fan so can vent unpleasant odors, and also any steam from taking a shower.  The fan I have slows down after some time running, doesn't matter if it's pushng air out, or pulling air in, still exhibits same behaviors.

As part of troubleshooting, plus I was convinced it was the problem, decided to bypass the control board.  The control board is simple in that there's just a knob which changes voltage sent to the motor.  My theory is that the control board could've been faulty to a degree in that it slowed the motor down over time.

Before modification
This is actually a fairly simple thing, but be warned for a couple reasons.
  • This will likely invalidate any warranty remaining on fan.
  • Messing around with 12V DC electricity, so be vewy vewy careful
  • Other bad things could happen working with electricity

Am fairly comfortable around electricity so this was a breeze.  Upon examination, there's a red and black wire (fairly thick) coming into the control board.  Leaving the control board there are two wires going to a switch.  Leaving the switch is two wires going to the fan.  It seems that the switch controls which direction the electricity is sent to the motor, which in turn controls which was the air blows.

Quick test
First step was to snip the wires leaving the control board, followed by snipping wires coming into control board.  Did it this way to lessen the amount of time the live wires were not connected to anything.  As part of this I also stripped the wires with my lineman pliers.

All safe and snug
As a quick test in which way to connect the wires, and to validate it would work, twisted them together like so and hit the wall switch that controls the fan (different from switch on the fan housing that controls the direction).  Lo and behold it works great.

Once did this quick verification I then quickly tied them together like so.  Just some wire nuts leftover from a ceiling fan installation from someplace, probably my house.  I say ceiling fan as those type of wire nuts generally come from packaged goods.

As the fan is still working this modification didn't harm it in any way that I can tell.  However, it didn't solve the problem so there must be something else wrong.  The fan still slows down after a certain amount of time.

I think the next step is to validate voltage going into the switch, and it leaving the switch.  The other thing I think it could be is the motor itself if all the voltages check out.  There's also a possibility that the voltage being supplied dwindles over time.  I would find that hard to believe but anythings possible at this point.  The wall switch could also be causing the problem.

Will create another entry when get around to this again.  First have to install water heater and fix the shower pan.  Big hole in shower pan.....  Am Pepe Le Pew now.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

KickStarter - failed projects are taking their toll

I just sent this letter to KickStarter CEO, and their Director of Communications.  Someone posted the e-mail addresses in comments section of the website.  I've learned my lesson about not taking opportunities as they're presented, which I still have to blog about, so here's my first one as it's presented..

This is the second official project failure I've had recently.  It seems to be becoming more and more of a thing to have a failed and/or fraudulent project.  In this letter I outline one way to mitigate the risk.  Am sure there are quite a few other options, if they choose to change anything.

The project in question:

Other failed projects where I didn't receive awards:
Hubble Laser Cutter
TrayVax, Wallet for Life
Authentic Dijon Mustard

Potential project failure:
Lumma - Smart Pill dispenser (hoping wrong about this).

On to the drama:


I have backed over 240 projects, some failed, some very successful, some were a little dismal, and then some didn't deliver anything, with no hopes of delivering anything.

With KickStarter's hands-off approach as a funding platform for generally unique projects, I feel that there are some relatively simple things that can be done to decrease number of seemingly fraudulent projects, which seem to be on the rise (at least for me).  Among them is this chief idea I have

1 - Give project creator's certain percentage up front, say 1/3, to begin work, as defined by project creator
2 - At certain milestones, defined by project creator, and reviewed by backers, release another portion of funds
3 - At a point near end of project, another vote and final release of funds
* Milestones created prior to project's creation with ability to modify during project, and locked X days before project's end

The vote could be simple poll, and be a percentage of respondents within a certain time frame.  As example, if 50% of respondents say yes, release the funds, if only 25% say yes, hold onto funds until new poll.  The voting results will be displayed to project backers, successful or not.  There would be ability for project creator to petition KickStarter to release funds outside of polling process, with full transparency.

If project does not complete successfully, refund remaining funds to backers, prorating it based on their total pledge level, minus KickStarter and card processing fees.  This isn't foolproof though I think it's better than what currently happens.

Pertaining specifically to Zano, I have filed a report with the UK Police Agency concerning fraud.  The NFRC is NFRC************.

Have had couple other projects fail, notably Hubble Laser Cutter, and another one doesn't look so hot, Lumma.

Best wishes for continued success to the KickStarter funding platform.  I really enjoy it but the rash of failed and/or fraudulent projects is becoming rather unsightly.

Would prefer no response over one of those irritating cookie cutter ones where it's clear no one cares.


Richard K

Monday, November 16, 2015

Replace lighting fixture

This is the fixture that is over the sink, and it's somewhat important for the times when I need to do dishes, not want, but need.  Just replaced it and here's the gory details.

Symptoms:  No light when switch is switched.

Cause:  Bad switch.  I validated this by using multi-meter and checking wire connections.  One strange thing is that there's one hot wire and two ground wires.  Couldn't tell you why but that's how it is.  Validated this when bypassed switch by using pliers to connect the two terminals and light lit up.  YIPPEE.

One problem:  These switches are soldered in place, i.e. the wires.  Due to this, even if I could find a new switch, it would not be time effecient to replace just the switch.  Which is unfortunate.

Solution:  Replace light, hence what's listed here.  New light is a Thin-lite Model 311-1.  Couldn't find a good page that listed detailed product info (not surprising for RV stuff), otherwise would've linked it.

This light is located above the sink, and underneath the cabinets.  It is fairly easy to get to and replace.  First step is to unscrew the six screws holding it in place.  I had only expected four, one on each corner, but there was also two in the middle.  Can't explain why, nor do I want to ponder why.

3 wires?
Next thing on the list is to determine which wire is which as there were three wires.  As eluded above, two is a ground and one is a hot wire.  Any idea which is which??  Spoiler:  The black is live and contains ~12 volts, it read about 14 volts on the multimeter.  Am still baffled by how many wires. 

Amount to strip
After determining which wire is which, it's time to snip them.  I used a pair of lineman's pliers as they snip the wire, and provide a great guide, in my experience, for removing insulation.  I snipped the black first, then both of the whites, making sure the whites didn't get anywhere near the black.  I generally don't approve of segregation, in this case it was important  Slim chance of anything happening as only end is exposed, still pays to be safe..

Just before stripping
Stripping wire using lineman's pliers is an acquired skill, yet one which most people can pick up with a minimum amount of practice. Stripped about 1/2 inch of wire shown and briefly twisted afterwards.  Only stripped wire on ONE of the white wires.  The other white wire taped the end and taped it to the other white wire to keep them together.

All tied together
One nifty thing I did, and am proud of myself, is when mounting the light, existing holes didn't line up.  Instead of drilling holes, and it being underside of cabinet, knew there would be a thin wood surface to it.  Took a scratch awl and poked holes in the veneer where the screw goes.  Prior to doing this, did a test run of inserting the awl into the light fixture and seeing how much poked through.  Turns out it was just about the right thickness to not give too much play when putting the screw in.
Scratch awl in action

All mounted, before cover is on
A semi-important thing, for me, was to get it pretty much centered over the sinks.  Wasn't overly concerned about getting it centered in the middle of the cupboard doors, nor precisely centered over the sink, but feel it turned out well.  If notice, in one of these last pictures, there seems to be a small gap between the light and the cupboard bottom.  Wanted to get it closer, but felt this was close enough otherwise ran a risk of stripping the hole.  This would've made other things more challenging.  I still think it's as tight as it should be as put wire nuts in the gap.

The only thing that concerns me, long term, is it feels like has same type of switch which failed on this light, and one before this.  Not quite sure why these switches failed, be it age, design, frequency of use, voltage/amperage passing through, any or none of these?  Am hoping for the best on this one.  It did look a little easier to add a secondary switch if needed.

Proof it works

Light installed

Complete album 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Organic Star Food wars

Today, while searching around for some unpasteurized milk in Vegas for when am there during Christmas, came across this video.  It's a parody but very neat.  When I eat, and cook, in the RV, I do my best to get Organic, or better, food.  Eating out much as I do it's somewhat difficult, well, very difficult.

A Vimeo Link to same movie.

 It genuinely made me chuckle.  What a great way to end the weekend!  That, and a little rain here in Casa Grande, AZ.  It's great other than the sad reality of most of the food we consume..  That aside, it's a great video.

Have a super time!  Will be jotting down some thoughts / memories from Marfa this week.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Doulton Water Filter

Quite awhile back, think well before moved to Seattle when I was living in my house (which I still pay the mortgage on and "own"), purchased a Doulton water filter from this website.  Got the filter housing and several (a lot) replacement filters.  I used this daily as didn't really enjoy tap water and just felt good knowing most, if not all, of the potential bad stuff (including chlorine) in the city water is gone!

However, sometime after hitting the road in the RV, I broke the spigot....  This was a let down.  Had to condense the filter and put it away for awhile as most spigots I found were overly expensive for what it was.

While I was in Florida last year, I won quite a few goodies!  I did feel guilty and put some things back in the drawing, or gave some away, can't remember, but one of the things I won was a glass ice tea container, with a spigot on the bottom.  Used this quite some time until my refrigerator conked out on me.

It turns out that with my new refrigerator, and default shelf spacing, can't fit the ice tea jar so had it in the hallway, on the floor, in my path..  Am sure you can figure where this is going....

The glass ice tea jar broke and was left with glass bits and the plastic spigot.

Just tonight had the idea to install this in my Doulton water filter.  Inserted the rubber gasket in place, twisted spigot in place, and it looks amazing!!  Now, am unsure what type of plastic is used so hopefully not leaching too much icky stuff in, but for now it's awesome!

Doulton on right with "new" spigot

Have it filled now with filtered water.  I use this water to put into my Nikken Waterfall.  This adds minerals, restructures the water, and does some other good and nifty stuff!  End result is great tasting water triple filtered.  Also have a Doulton filter for when fill up my RV water tank too!!

Replacing radiator shutoff for cab heater

I really thought this job would be fairly easy, quick and simple.  It really wasn't, or I made it rougher than needed.  I've been spending too much time under the engine lately, starting with the Rear Main Seal, and lastly installing the Bypass Oil Filter, Part 1 and Part 2.  Don't get me wrong, I somewhat enjoy doing it myself, as both learn and save money, but really..  If it should be easy it shouldn't get more complex just because it's an RV.... Seriously...  OK, enough whining.
Draining anti freeze

After identified exactly where needed to be, the first step is to drain the existing anti freeze so it doesn't leak all over me when take the piping apart.  There is a petcock I twisted open, and that's where the steady stream of green stuff is coming from.  This took some time to drain, and it's funny in a way in that the photo almost looks like an old black and white photo (to me), which the anti freeze solution a bright neon green.  Really looks neat.

Part to remove is on left
Reason for replacing the valve is that it was leaking really bad from the handle area when it was open.  To open it twist it just like an outdoor faucet, though it's hard to tell when it's open and closed.
Behind wires is hose

I don't have a really good picture of what's behind wire bunch #1, but to remove the valve, so I can replace it, had to remove a rubber hose.  Now, not sure why the wire bunch was ziptied where it's at, but it was.  It's fairly easy to slide the ziptie (was loose) down, and then used a ratchet and socket to loosen the clamp, and slide clamp off nipple and on rubber hose.  Then used a flat bladed screw driver to coax the rubber hose off the nipple.  Yes, sounds long and hard, but the following picture offer a better explanation.

Nipple where hose was attached
Once the hose was off, I was able to twist the nipple, petcock, and elbow off in one go and it went really easy and was really pleased..  While removing the next part is where things were starting to become not as easy as I was hoping, but yet, there was a reason for it.

The problem came when twisting the shutoff valve off.   When twisted it, it went fairly smooth and easy, up until the handle hit bottom of the alternator.  No matter what I tried, short of a hammer and blow torch, couldn't get it past the alternator.  This is starting to become an issue.  Spent much too long trying to get it past.

Alternator bolt w/new valve
Then, had a brilliant idea, and I removed the bottom bolt holding the alternator in place.  Once removed this bolt was able to move the alternator, this is the one I replaced a while back, and was able to keep twisting it off and life is just grand.  Had some antifreeze drip down on me, but it wasn't too bad.  One thing had to keep track of is the Serpentine belt so that it didn't stray too far from where it should be.

When twisted the valve off, the pipe nipple came with it.  That is the short piece of pipe, with threads on both ends, that connects the whole assembly to the radiator.  Had to use a pipe wrench to twist it off as tried some vice grips and it just started twisting and scraping metal off..  Not a good thing.

New valve in assembly
Once had everything apart, reassembled it all, using teflon (PTFE) tape on the threads.  I just connected everything finger tight at this stage as my plan was to use a wrench and tighten all three joints at once.  This is probably not recommended as could get insufficient tightening.  However, my problem is I didn't have a small enough pipe wrench to get into that area to tighten only the nipple, so this is a risk am willing to live with.

Everything where it is now
After inserting into bottom of radiator, right where took it out, attached the trusty adjustable wrench to end of elbow and twisted and tightened and twisted some more.  Kept twisting until felt tight enough and everything was lined up so that it was generally accessible and in places where can easily adjust valve without getting hurt.

Everything else went really smoothly.  The petcock and nipple threaded easily into the elbow and tightened gracefully.  Used two adjustable wrenches on this, one to support the elbow and the other to twist the petcock assembly.  Now, one thing I did, which in hindsight might not have been the best, is that I angled this a little upward to make sure it was a little tighter.  Am only slightly concerned that with the assembly pointing up a little is that it will either loosen in time, or it will cause extra strain on the rubber hose.  Will see what happens.

Where bolt goes on bottom
Now it's time to put the alternator bolt in place, the bottom one.  No matter how much prodding, pulling, and general movement, of the alternator there is no way could get the threads started.  It took me forever to figure this out as I was a bit clueless on this, but what holds the bottom in place is just a bar type thing with a bolt at both ends.  After realized this (won't say how long I tried to get it threaded), simply loosened the small bolt on other end, moved this bar to where needed it, and wala, everything went together purrfectly.  Tightened both bolts back up and was happy.

BUT, it doesn't end here.  One of the steps for trying to get the bolt threaded in the first place was to reach up top of the alternator and see if had any play in the long bolt up there.  Turns out there was some unintended play, in that the nut came off the bolt so it could move back and forth, or slip out....  NOW, this is really not a good thing.  I didn't take a picture but can refer to when I replaced my alternator a while back.  If the bolt had slipped out while was on the road I would've been in a huge world of hurt, well, the alternator, serpentine belt, all that jazz would've been.

As I really had no idea what the nut size, and bolt size is, and didn't want to take it out for fear of repeating my frustration earlier, took a socket and fitted it to the head piece of the bolt, which it turns out was a 15mm socket.  I then went to couple places in town to get a part.  First tried hardware store, bought a lock nut washer, but it wasn't the right size.  Then I went to NAPA auto parts, explained the situation, and he gave me couple different ideas on the right size, so I walked out with two nuts, one for an 8mm bolt and other for 10mm bolt.  The 10mm one is the winner!!!  YAY.  This time I put some really good force into tightening the nut and bolt, but have a feeling I should've also put some blue loctite on too.  If have to revisit this will add it then.

After all the additional drama was done, added about 4 1/2 gallons of 50/50 mixture to it.  I used the Walmart anti-freeze, and some Prestone I had already mixed.  I initially added one gallon of full strength anti freeze, followed it with one gallon of water, added another gallon of full strength anti freeze, and topped it off with the premix I had.  Now, one thing I should've done, but didn't, is used purified, or better, distilled, water.  Just used water out of the tap here, not even my filtered water..  Next time will get some distilled water to carry around.

After filled up radiator, started engine and got it up to temperature.  Ran engine for a total of about 20-30 minutes, anywhere between normal idle and 1500 RPM (double normal idle), and not a leak was found.  Also had heater on but felt no heat coming out of it.  Not sure if need to be moving along the road to get heat, but did feel the pipe leading up front was pretty warm / hot...  Am sure it works though would've been nice to know now in case need to bleed air out of someplace else.

Although I must say, NO anti freeze leaks at all, YIPPEE!

Still have a tiny oil leak from bypass filters, but will address those this weekend.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

San Antonio trip

Went to San Antonio again this year for a convention.  While there at the convention, one of my friends has a son that lives there, who used to be a muckety muck in the gaming industry, and still plays games, mainly board games.  I spent quite a few hours, on a wonderfully lazy Sunday, playing board games with him.  While didn't win every game had a blast learning and exploring new things!

Indian Chief
He enjoys showing friends around the fine city of San Antonio, TX., and he brought a few of us to see a light show at San Fernando Cathedral.  I managed to get some good pictures, but didn't take them early enough.  The light show shared some of the history of San Antonio, and the U.S. in general.

The whole light show was amazing, and something I would have never gone to see if I wasn't brought there myself, so many thanks go out to him, and his girlfriend, for expanding my world!  The images was very clear and synchronized to music.

On the other side of plaza, same side of the street, there's a large building.  I was told, by our "tour guide", that the image was projected from that building, up near the top.  I was unable to see the bright light, or even the light "rays", so will have to take him at his word.  The music played from speakers in the general vicinity of the plaza.  We brought some folding chairs, but they also had limited seating via picnic tables and chair secured to the concrete.  The chairs did swivel so that was a plus!

NO idea....
There is a food vendor and a drink vendor.  I got some Gatorade and a banana flavored sherbert type thing on a stick.  Was actually hoping for ice cream and was little disappointed, but it did support a small local business so was happy'ish.

Our convention was at the Convention Center downtown.  I was also there last year, but strange enough didn't write about it.  I stayed at a Carefree "Resort" right near downtown.  It is almost a straight shot (three miles) to the convention center.  If I took the bus, it was about a fifteen minute trip and cost $1.20.  An Uber generally cost about $10.00 and was much faster.

The campground, or "resort", is actually a fairly nice one, and very convenient to downtown.  However, it does come with a somewhat hefty price tag.  Due to location of the convention center it's also not too cost effective to drive downtown, even my scooter, so best choice was to take public transit.  Did meet some great people on the bus, including a military veteran who I chatted with until my stop.  He was upbeat and positive, but started lamenting about our government.....  Enough said there for the moment.

The convention itself is about health care, and about introducing people to the benefits of taking care of themselves with natural, and organic based products.  There are quite a few well respected people there who have built large multi-national businesses, simply by spreading the word and allowing people to test drive products themselves, no front loading involved.

This will be of interest to most of the women out there, well, probably all of the women, in that a new skin care line was just launched.  To launch the product line in the U.S. (was available elsewhere at least to a limited extent) was a former buyer of skin care products for Neiman Marcus, who couldn't stop giving glowing praise for these where she generally doesn't.  Even her husband, a former Special Forces soldier, was impressed with the Shower Gel, even buying one of those frilly little scrubber things for himself.  She was saying that, among all the samples she received as a buyer, this stuff truly rocked her world.

True Elements Marine Organic Skin Care

  • Nourishing Face Cream
  • Nutritional Mask
  • Refreshing Tonic Lotion
  • Stimulating Shower Gel
  • Velvet Cleansing Milk
  • Youth Activ Eye Syrum
  • Youth Activ Syrum

There were numerous other things announced, and in no particular order:

  • Membership changes, personal improvement and an e-commerce web page included
  • Broad, and sweeping, market optimization price changes
    • Price changes to make Organic'ish products competetive in market place
    • General price lowering of many products to be more affordable
  • More changes coming January 1st, 2016
  • More of a movement towards keeping products unique and unparalleled through patent protection

There are many benefits, and many profound stories, of people who have taken control of their health, and lives, by controlling their environment and how they nurture their bodies.

Of particular interest to me, and I like to think had manifested this myself with the Law of Attraction, is that I was called to the stage as winner of a prize.  YAY me!  The prize is a dinner for two, at a restaurant of my choice, up to a certain dollar limit.  It can be anyplace I choose and might wait till I get to Las Vegas to take advantage of the free dinner.  One never knows what'll happen in Vegas, or on the road to Vegas.  Not everything has to stay in Vegas.

In similar health related news that should be making headlines, is a CDC whistleblower.  I heard of him by listening to Coast to Coast AM, specifically their show concerning a Retrovirus Revelation, where it's linked to some common, and generally more modern, health issues.  Supposedly the whistle blower talks about a large coverup (in government, really?  surprised!).  It was difficult to not find a smear article on him, and found what I personally think is a neutral article, but never heard of the ladies website before.

I'm not one to judge, I read, absorb, and make my own informed decision based on the facts I can find.  Unfortunately it's hard to find the really good facts unless scour far corners of the internet, or talk to people who are in the know, if they can back it up with facts and not hyperbole.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

First Bypass Oil Filter change

I didn't exactly take note of the mileage when I installed the oil filter, nor do I know the mileage now (too lazy to turn the key to find out), but it felt about time to change filter.  Believe it's been close to two thousand miles, and with it being the first filter change, figured was OK to change it before recommended time.

I didn't take a video, but this is video of someone (guy who sold me filter?) changing it, and explaining the steps.  Below is my take on it all.

Filter media, and small garbage bag

The first order of business was getting the filter media.  I truly didn't want such a big thing of single ply toilet paper, but it's what Walmart had when I stayed there last, on the way to Marfa, TX., which is where I currently am.  I do not recommend using this on your derriere as  I take no responsibility if you wind up with stinky finger...  To prevent an oily finger, in my case, I used some nitrile gloves.

With gloves donned, loosened the clamp holding top part of the filter on.  After removing clamp (sorry, no picture), lifted the stainless steel top up and out, but did so ever so slowly.  It actually sounded kinda neat as there was a slight sucking sound as was pulling it up.  Went somewhat slow as it's my first time, plus it sounded really neat!

With filter removed
The next sight surprised me as didn't expect it, but there was actually oil in the bottom.  I thought had designed everything so that it would automatically drain all the way out.  And, the oil is fairly deep.  I can somewhat understand some oil being on the input side as oil comes down from the filter, but don't truly understand why oil is in the output side.

For reference, the "dirty" oil comes in through the middle, and the "clean" oil goes out through the outside.  There's holes down there that you can't see, trust me..  Really, trust me..  Would I ever knowingly lie?

Removing filter
Now it is a simple matter of grabbing a pair of pliers, grabbing enough filter media, squeeze pliers, and pull it up and out.  It lifted out fairly easily, all things considered, and didn't have any problems with this part, though couple things that I noticed.  The first being is I tried to initially grab only a little bit of the filter media, a.k.a. the inner cardboard ring, as figured that was strong enough, WRONG.  Can see this if look closely underneath lockjaw part of plier, on the far side of the ring.

Fully out, supported by pliers
The second thing of note is the amount of filter media I did grab.  This proved to be very solid and didn't feel anything "give" at all when pulled it out.  There truly is strength in numbers!  Remember that, not just for this reading, but life in general.  i.e. it's hard to do everything yourself, almost impossible depending on your goals.

Now it was just a matter of placing the filter in a bag (I chose plastic), and disposing of it properly.

I don't know much about Installing new filters like this, but it seemed really easy and simple.  I did it somewhat slowly and carefully due to oil left in bottom, and it being my first time.  Didn't want liquid to splatter all over the place prematurely as it would've been embarrasing.
Tucked in snugly

What I did first was to lay the toilet paper roll gently on top.  When I did this noticed that it didn't really fit in perfectly, as paper is wont to have a mind of it's own.  Because of this, had to tuck it in ever so slightly as seen in the picture.

After was tucked in, twisted it while gently pushing down.  Did this in the hopes that most, if not all, of the oil in the bottom would be absorbed in the toilet paper.  This worked to a large degree, but did have a little spillage around the edges, still not bad for a first time.

O-ring on border of white
Another thing to note is that along the outside edge of the filter housing is an O-ring.  It seemed a little dirty in spots so made sure to rub the rubber with my gloved finger, depositing the oil on top of the pristine white filter.  This O-ring keeps all the oil in.

Housing back on
Once toilet paper was firmly to bottom, I then put the filter housing on.  Doing it in this way helps to ensure that the toilet paper media is as far down as it can go as the housing will push it down some more while not deforming it as I would.

Last step of installing media is to put the clamp on and tighten it snugly.  This is done and everything is nice and secure.

There are couple more steps in that need to run the engine and let oil flow through the media.  For the initial install, I let it idle till engine was up to temperuture.  After running the engine for at least couple minutes (my guess), turn it off and let sit.  After it sits at least 10 minutes (I would wait 30 or so), check the oil and add as appropriate till up to level.

They say that it's about one quart of oil per filter that has to be replaced, so I'll probably wind up adding two quarts and that should top it off.

My initial thoughts on this is "how could it get so simple?"  If didn't stop and take pictures, am sure would've been done in 5 minutes.  As it is, it probably took me about 10-15, which isn't all that bad.

There are one or two small leaks I might have to address and will keep an eye on them.  Noticed one leak that was coming from around the O-ring, and also noticed some excess oil on one of the T fittings I put together.  Did have some oil leaking out of the oil sampling valve, but that was quickly fixed by loosening and tightening it a little more.

My next steps are to get some oil sampling test kits and send them in.  Will post that too, and it'll give a good guide into health of engine as a whole.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Know jack? He's a fine lad now..

When I bought the RV there were several things that didn't work at all, and one of them was the hydraulic leveling jacks..  Now, I'm proud to say, that they are working, YIPPEE!!!!  It's time to rock n roll, or just rock without rolling!

Had many false starts to this and many times got around to analyzing it, such as breaking out the digital multimeter, but never getting them to work.  This was my secondary goal about being in New Mexico, the primary was to ride a horse, and what a nice ride she was!  Purebred, excellent, heavenly, oh my oh my!

There is also something very great have in New Mexico too, and that's someone who's had 17+ years of RV experience and knows quite a few things about them, so I was able to learn a lot.

With my troubleshooting skills prior, I was able to get power to the control panel, so that it would turn on, and I could hear the relays clicking to and fro when gingerly press the button(s).  There were two main things that got me this far.  The first being some wiring done by a prior owner (first?), and then a disconnected wire.

My control panel
According to the jack manual, the system is made by Milwaukee Cylinder, at least that's the name on the control panel, which is main thing have to go by. The manual actually says PowerGear, and I did have to contact someone but can't remember who I did as it was awhile ago.  Whoever it was was extremely helpful!  My part number, for the control panel, is 500089.

The odd part is that the manual shows correct picture for my control panel, but couldn't find it listed further down in the manual..  Strange..  By comparing backside of the panel with pictures in the manual, was able to find the correct wiring harnesses, shown on page 14 in the jack manual.

Bonus, Paisley's paw
Now, combine page 14 with what's shown on page 16, I was able to validate that some voltages were present, or not present, and what it should've been..  Needless to say it was quite confusing at first but finally got it.

As mentioned, there were two problems, the first being no power on one of the pins.  After some indecision, and checking ALL the fuses I could find, still no power.  Think it was Pin #1 of the 6 pin connector.  Now, after doing all that work, waiting some time, going back, you know the drill, it finally dawned on me that the switch label JACKS OVERRIDE SWITCH had something to do with the jacks..  I always flipped it to dim a persistent blinking light..   After flipping this switch so it lit up, making sure key is in correct position, and making sure all prerequisites were in place (Key and parking brake set) finally got power on the pin, YIPPEE!  And a slap on the forehead.

However, the jacks still didn't work....

Battery compartment
Next step in debug process, according to the manual on page 24, was to check the battery ground...  NOW, the battery compartment leaves a lot to be desired.

But, my first step is to trace the wiring from the control panel to the ground point, which, as it turns out, is the battery.  I identified the ground wire as being one of the thicker wires, and believe it was black with a white stripe.  Followed the wiring to the pump motor, and the ground wire split off from there.  it went into an abyss above the motor somewhat and I couldn't trace any further.

Wires on jack pump motor
I also looked in the battery compartment a couple of times and didn't see any unhooked wires, or anything that looks like it could've been hooked up. One final look several months later and I was able to see an unhooked wire all the way in the back, hidden behind, and underneath, the starter battery (left hand side).  Looked at the color coding on it and this wire matched what was looking for.  Hooked it up to the starting battery ground, ran my tests, and whala, the panel lights up!!!

My elation was short lived though.  It lit up the panel, but nothing beyond that.  No warning lights, no buzzer, no nothing, just couple lights, could hear the relays clicking, and no jack movement..  This is a bummer..

Dirty dirty pump motor
Now, the story continues in New Mexico.  Relayed all this to the experienced guy, a retired electrical engineer, and one of his first thoughts, after sharing the manual with him, was a float level being out of whack.  However, once he looked at the pump motor, he said there was NO WAY his hand was going anywhere near that thing.

So, you guessed it, the first step was power washing, and I mean with real water and engine degreaser..  One guess on who the lucky person was to spray the degreaser underneath on all the components, yours truly.  I was also very privileged to spray everything down with water....  How lucky I was..

Nice n clean and straight
With all that done, this was close to the final result, with one exception.  The whole pump unit was tilted maybe 20 degrees.  There's a black bracket that hooks onto top of the motor (a spindle or something) and then bolts into the bracket thing at bottom of motor, top of fluid reservoir.  It seems to have been made out of super soft metal and somehow got dinked and dorked and all messed up.  Even if I had just straightened it and put it back in, it looked so weakened that there was a strong possibility that it would bend again.

Now, as it was explained to me, the problem with it being bent off level like that is there's a float switch that tells the control panel if there's fluid, or no fluid.  Now this is starting to make more sense as to why it's so important to have the pump, and reservoir, level.

Closeup of float area
Another thing is that I tried to disagree with him that it being off level could've made the switch stuck, which is what he thought, but acquiesced and acknowledged he was probably right.  This is due to, if look closely, under the oil fill location is the float switch.  It's pointing out somewhat, and with it being bent 20 degrees that could've put undue stress on the little float thingie (like a toilet bowl float but smaller).  See where the problem could've been?

Metal plate used
To fix this, we got some metal from behind the garage and cut a piece the size we needed, smoothed the sides off so it wouldn't cut skin, or wires / hoses and did a test fit with the bracket.  I don't have any pictures of this process, only the final ones.

Closeup of bracket
The next step was to flatten out the bracket itself to make the whole assembly almost like new again.  This involved a hammer and quite a bit of patience.  Metal working is an acquired skill, definitely acquired.  Patience is too.

If look closely at the picture, can see where the metal is still bent a little.  It's very tine consuming to get it perfectly straight, and it took a bit of time to get it this straight.  We also had to add some holes.  The two bottom ones were there, where see the two bolts, had to add ones on the top to hold everything to the new plate.    If look at the above picture, we also put some nylon lock nuts on it to prevent the nuts from vibrating loose.

After this was straightened, we then added Automatic Transmission Fluid.  While this wasn't the preferred oil, the manual did state that this is a suitable alternative, and by golly it works.  Am sure could've added water too and it would've still somewhat worked, initially at least (NOT recommended to use water, just a bad example that any liquid would've made float switch activate).  The oil is added to the bottom of the oil fill tube, with a long funnel to prevent spillage.

This one last step got everything working and functioning fine.  Once it was straight, and more oil added (about 1.5 - 2 quarts), this most likely triggered the float switch to report full and cause the pump motor to activate, YIPPEE!

Now, I don't know if had to go through the process of straightening it out, or if only filling up the oil to ull would've worked, as we did it in this order and it worked.  Enough said there.

One maintenance tip that was passed on to me, and am passing it on here, is to prevent damage, and possible stuck jacks, they liberally coat the exposed shiny metal with some silicone, such as food grade silicone.  Food grade might, and probably is, overkill, but I had it for my 3D printers for lubrication purposes.  Now, it's not for all lubrication, but it is valid in some instances.

Still in Texas right now, and having had this working for the last month or so, it all works fine and great.  I do notice that after traveling, a little oil underneath the pump reservoir.  This is getting less and less and think some of it is splashing out due to normal movement.  Will investigate later to see if there's something I can plug, or even if it's supposed to drip like that (to relieve pressure)?  Can't imagine it should but one never knows.